After selling medical marijuana without a required state license for most of April, Ashland pot dispensary Siskiyou Medical Supply closed last week.
Owner Mike Welch said Ashland police informed him on April 30 that he needed to shutter the dispensary, which is inside Puff’s Smoke Shop off Ashland Street.
The temporary rules governing medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon were released by OHA on April 4, and made it illegal to operate a dispensary in Oregon without a license from the Oregon Health Authority.
Welch said he was unaware that he was required to obtain a license through the OHA Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program to continue operating his dispensary.
“That wasn’t the case with 3460,” Welch said. “In House Bill 3460, which is what we used to open, we were fine.”
The bill, which took effect on March 3, formalized operating a medical marijuana dispensary in Oregon by defining regulatory guidelines and directing OHA to establish a registration system for dispensaries.
OHA acts as the authority regulating dispensaries in Oregon and started accepting applications from owners on March 3, said OHA spokeswoman Karynn Fish.
The first batch of licenses were issued by OHA in mid-March.
“Technically (after April 4, when the rules were released), every place was suppose to close until they had gone through the application process and received a license,” she said. “Not everyone did that. They (Siskiyou Medical Supply) have not been legally cleared to operate.”
Welch opened Siskiyou Medical Supply at the end of last year.
He has a business license from the city of Ashland and the state to operate the dispensary, but said his initial application to OHA was denied because of the proximity of Puff’s to The Siskiyou School on Clay Street.
OHA prohibits any medical marijuana outlets from operating within 1,000 feet of a school.
Welch said he has filed an appeal with OHA, claiming that Siskiyou Medical Supply is not within 1,000 feet of the school, and he is confident that he will be granted a licence to operate within two week.
“We have a survey saying we’re not within 1,000 feet of the school,” Welch said. “We are temporarily closed almost as a courtesy, because I don’t want to burn the goodwill that I have with the city.”
Welch said he is aware of other pot dispensaries across the state that are operating while waiting for an OHA license, but haven’t been approached by police.
He said dispensary owners have had difficulty keeping up with the many rule changes surrounding the medical marijuana dispensary program in Oregon.
“You get something done and then you have to change what you just got done because they are running through this thing so fast,” Welch said.
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or [email protected] Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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